You better watch out what you say to your devices, they might be able to put you behind bars. In Arkansas, a man by the name of James Bates, might be facing time in prison if his Amazon Echo holds information in regards to why a man was found dead in his hot tub.
Crazy to think that a device could potentially hold evidence to a high stakes murder case. However, Amazon is not handing over the information with ease. This brings us back to the continued argument over American privacy and needed information for investigations.
The Amazon Echo is a smart speaker that is activated by the sound of her name, Alexa. The Echo has the ability to play music, read you the news and connect to other devices that you own. However, she is always listening for her name, so she can properly respond to your request.
Amazon has those recordings stored away and prosecutors believe that Bates’ Echo may hold key evidence in regards to the murder investigation. However, many are stating that this is violation of Bates’ privacy, thus Amazon is withholding the recordings until further legal action is taken.
This isn’t the first time that devices have been used against their owners. The 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino, California revolved around Apple when the FBI was seeking information from the shooter’s cell phone. Another case in Georgia, required prosecutors seek information from texts, Reddit posts and Google searches, reported CNN.
This brings to question if anything is really private anymore? We use all kinds of devices that carry important personal information. According to CNN’s article, many claim that devices such as the Echo, Google Home or Siri should have different rules and regulations when it comes to personal privacy. However, other sources claim that requesting a device to do something is no different than typing something into your web browser.
The prosecutor involved with the case has attempted to obtain the information from the Echo two separate times but has been declined for both requests. While those involved with the case are still pressing the subject, Amazon claims it will not budge until further notice.
All the way around this raises eyebrows in regards to customer privacy and what can be collected by the devices we use. CNN even reported that The Electronic Privacy Information has voiced concerns about “always on” devices. As time goes on, we will have to seek solutions to these changes in technology. What is a violation of privacy and what is not?
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